Our History


The rich history of agricultural shows in Rockhampton’s region dates back to 1874, when the Central Queensland Graziers and Farmers' Society organised the first Gracemere show. The following year, in May 1875, the Fitzroy Pastoral, Agricultural and Horticultural Society delivered the Rockhampton Show. The last Show on the original Rockhampton grounds was held in 1884 as the Fitzroy Pastoral, Agricultural and Horticultural Society prepared the new showgrounds which took just over two years. During this time there were no shows in 1885 or 1886. As the years went by, the two societies continued to grow and prosper. Finally, in 1890, they decided to join forces and form the Rockhampton Agricultural Society.

As the Rockhampton Show grew in popularity, it was in 1917 that the commissioner for railways made arrangements for a special train to leave Brisbane to Rockhampton for the Premier to open the Show. Following this in 1920, passengers traveling from Brisbane to attend the Rockhampton Show were treated to cheap railway tickets.

Throughout the past 150 years, the Rockhampton Show has hosted a wide variety of entertainment, competitions, and sections. Some of which include, Nurmi, the Giant Trotting Ostrich (1927), Giantess Jolly Nellie from America appearing in 1935, a giant pig and giant St Bernard in 1937 and Globe of Death by stunt riders Jim and Roberto Costanos in 1982. Competitions and sections have been at the centre of the Show for many years spanning from, cattle and horses to dairy, horticulture, poultry, and baking. While some of the original sections have evolved and remained a staple of the event, others have come and gone over time. Sheep, fish, goats, and cats are among the many sections that the community has witnessed change or phase out throughout the Show's history. Woodchop competitions were introduced in 1929 and has become a staple in the show community.

Sir Arthur Palmer was elected as the society's first inaugural president, and since then, numerous chairpersons have followed in his footsteps to bring the community together each year for the Rockhampton Show.